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The website Niche has included Bettendorf and Pleasant Valley schools on its list of top school districts in Iowa.

Niche, which runs the better-known ranking site College Prowler, ranked Bettendorf the sixth-best school district in Iowa and Pleasant Valley the seventh-best district in the state.

The database included 100 Iowa school districts in its rankings and graded school systems in eight categories, including academics, teachers, health and safety, student culture and diversity and responses to surveys given to Niche users. Academics held the most weight in the rankings.

Niche examined school assessment data, SAT and ACT scores, enrollment in Advanced Placement classes and graduation rates to calculate a school system’s academic score.

The state also ranked Bettendorf High School the eighth-best school in Iowa and Pleasant Valley the ninth-best high school in the state.

Bettendorf High School, which has a 93 percent graduation rate and a 90 percent math and reading proficiency rate, according to the database, received mostly A’s and A-minuses in every category and an A overall.

Bettendorf Superintendent Theron Schutte said his district takes pride in positive rankings, especially when they include feedback from students and parents.

"Other rankings are straight achievement scores, and that doesn't always tell the whole story," Schutte said. "I think the fact that they take those achievement scores as well as comments and perceptions from students and parents helps elevate our district."

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Pleasant Valley High School, which has a 97 percent graduation rate, a 94 percent math proficiency rate and a 95 percent reading proficiency rate, according to the database, also received an A overall.

Pleasant Valley Superintendent Jim Spelhaug said he takes every rating with a grain of salt, noting rankings can sometimes be misleading.

“It’s great that we’re in the top 10, and we think we’re a good school district, but we don’t believe we’re as good as we want to be or will be,” Spelhaug said. “Our goal is to have the finest academic and extracurricular programs in the state. Not just for some kids but for every kid.”

The site ranked West Senior High School in Iowa City and Iowa City High School above the Quad-City schools and ranked the Ames Community School District No. 1 on its list of top school districts in Iowa.

In September, Newsweek published its list of America's top high schools and included Bettendorf and Pleasant Valley in the top 500.

Bettendorf landed at 461, climbing more than 1,000 spots since the magazine published its rankings in 2013. Pleasant Valley High made the ranking for the first time this year, falling just behind Bettendorf at 488.

In April, the U.S. News & World Report released its 2014 Best High Schools rankings and ranked Bettendorf the fifth-best in Iowa and 1,132nd in the nation. That list ranked Pleasant Valley High School 11th in Iowa.

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